You are more than your reflection in the mirror
I was at the mall this evening and caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror. My first reaction was a sinking heart. I haven’t gotten around to dyeing my grey hairs and, to my eye, it just made me look way older than I would have liked. I walked around the mall with a heavy heart about the way I looked. As I drove home though, it dawned on me how silly I was being.
Well, of course, I look older. I am a month shy of my 45th birthday after all. I have almost 45 years of living under my belt. Not existing…living! I have loved, I have lost, I have laughed, I have cried. I have travelled and I have spent many days in my little space on earth called home. I have known a level hardship and I have known abundance. I have worked my butt off for all that I have and I am proud of it all. I have carried and borne a child. I have raised him almost single-handledly for 7 of his 9 years. Dammit, I have earned my grey hairs! In fact, I am blessed to have them. I am enough grey hairs included 🙂
It made me question why I have allowed this growing culture of superficiality to rule my perception of myself? The funny thing is that, as a general rule, I do not follow people on social media whose pages are filled with pics of themselves only. I believe that we all have a depth to us and that is what makes us interesting. Having to scroll past pictures of people’s faces only is boring to me. I want to know about the person behind the face. I want to know what makes them tick. What experiences have etched that line or that scar on their face? What experiences have they had that I or anyone else can learn from. Every experience has a lesson in it. In fact, did you know that Human Libraries are popping up all over the world? You can find a link to a website about it here. South Africa is a melting pot of cultures and challenges. Can you imagine the rich stories waiting to be told?
“I am because we are”. “It takes a village to raise a child”. These sayings have always been the heart of African culture. They are still true today and always will be. The reality is that children learn from what they see, what they hear and what they experience. We all do. If we are spending all our time admiring ourselves in a cell phone and a mirror, we are teaching children that that’s ok. If that’s all we post then we are probably teaching our children that that is the way to define themselves. That feels very shallow to me and I feel that it sets them up for a fall especially as they get older. It also opens them up to a whole host of other problems as well but that is a topic for another day. If wisdom is gained through life experience, and all they know is based on what people look like, what type of world are we creating for future generations?
Have you ever noticed how the most revered actors and actresses are known for their abilities and consistent accomplishments and not for their looks. Have you noticed how they come across as attractive/sexy even though they don’t fall into the category of “classically beautiful/sexy”? I mention them because we are so focused on the entertainment industry these days and hold people up for their looks and not their talent. Often they are “flash in the pan celebs” and fade away because they had no talent to carry them through. I would imagine it is more rewarding to be known for your achievements than just because you are good-looking. After all, looks do fade eventually.
At the end of the day, we have become so obsessed with our looks that we have forgotten that we have so much more to offer the world. Here’s to embracing our physical selves for what it is. There is no harm in wanting to look good in fact it is good for you to be happy with what you see in the mirror, however, being obsessed with your looks and defining yourself by your looks can only lead to problems down the road. After all even beauty queens know that a national or international competition is merely a stepping stone to making the right the connections to do what that really want to do. Even they need to have substance and not just be a pretty face to win. When last have you heard of a Miss South Africa that didn’t have a degree?
So here’s to growing older gracefully. To focusing on making ourselves better and this world a better place for future generations. To sharing and celebrating our knowledge and experiences so that that others may benefit and grow from them. Most importantly, here’s to being treasured for the positive touches we leave on the people around us and not only for what we look like.🥂
If you enjoyed this post then you know what to do…. Drop me a line in the comments section as well. I would love to hear your views.
Originally published at groundedafrican.blog on December 3, 2017.